Top 10 Movie Doctors

Script written by Craig Butler. When your life is in someone else’s hands, they'd better know what the hell they're doing. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 movie doctors. For this list, we’re focusing on doctors in feature films who make an indelible impression and practice some form of medicine; however, no mad scientists need apply because they’ve got their own list of the Top 10 Mad Scientists. Special thanks to our users ibriers 1, Itsa11good, Saleh Malik, frodo mine, Philip Folta, Luc Gierten and Brandon Caudill for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Movie Doctors

When your life is in someone else’s hands, he’d better know what the hell he’s doing. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie doctors.

For this list, we’re focusing on doctors in feature films who make an indelible impression and practice some form of medicine; however, no mad scientists need apply because they’ve got their own list of the Top 10 Mad Scientists.

#10: Doc Holliday
“Tombstone” (1993)

Everybody wants to avoid the dentist; that’s something the no good varmints at the O.K. Corral shoulda thought about. Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday in “Tombstone” is more a gunslinger than a doctor, but he’s a keeper – and as a dentist we have to assume he has a medical degree, right? A little foppish and prone to having conversations in Latin, he still proves he’s got cajones. It’s a startling, unforgettable interpretation of this real-life historical character.

#9: Nicholas Garrigan
“The Last King of Scotland” (2006)

Nicholas Garrigan starts this film as a young, idealistic doctor. Chosen to become the personal physician for Idi Amin, he refuses to see the dictator’s brutality for too long; but once he acknowledges Amin’s inhumanity, Garrigan becomes resolute in his efforts to escape and to let the world know of his crimes. Garrigan’s blend of human kindness and professional opportunism make him a memorably complex character.

#8: Dr. Herbert “Herb” Bock
“The Hospital” (1971)

Paddy Chayefsky’s black look at an inner city hospital in a perpetual state of chaos is anchored by George C. Scott’s towering performance as Dr. Herbert Bock. The Chief of Medicine for the hospital, Bock’s marriage is dying and his children are estranged. But nothing will keep him from fighting for his medical center. Bock may be a pain in the ass at times, but his heart is always in the right place.

#7: Dr. Luther Brooks
“No Way Out” (1950)

Sidney Poitier made his feature film debut as Dr. Luther Brooks in “No Way Out” and immediately caused a sensation. Brooks is a perfect Poitier character: an idealistic yet practical young intern fighting against racism with dignity and honor. At the end, Brooks even saves the life of a man who has tried to kill him and destroy his career: he’s just that honorable.

#6: Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams
“Patch Adams” (1998)

Robin Williams’s turn as real-life doctor Leonard Lowe in “Awakenings” was a fine job of acting, but he was really born to play the title role in “Patch Adams.” A former patient from a mental institution, Adams becomes a doctor to use his unique sense of humor to help the ill. And Adams is the kind of doctor who believes the patient-doctor bond is all about friendship and connection – and patients adore him almost as much as movie viewers do.

#5: Dr. Malcolm Crowe
“The Sixth Sense” (1999)

Many of our favorite film doctors sacrifice their personal lives to help their patients, but Malcolm Crowe of “The Sixth Sense” takes it to an extreme: Malcolm is so wrapped up in helping his latest patient, a little kid who thinks he can talk to the dead, that he can’t engage his wife in a real dialogue. Turns out there’s a reason for this – one which makes the audience have even greater fondness for the good doc.

#4: Dr. Yuri Zhivago
“Doctor Zhivago” (1965)

Yuri Zhivago is both a Russian physician and a poet – and as played by Omar Sharif in “Doctor Zhivago,” he is the embodiment of every woman’s ultimate romantic fantasy. He also knows his medicine and has great bedside manner – as a doctor, we mean. Amazingly, male viewers don’t feel jealous of Yuri – presumably because they think he’s just exactly the kind of doctor they’d be.

#3: Frederick Treves
“The Elephant Man” (1980)

John Merrick, the physically misshapen title character of “The Elephant Man,” lived a life as a freak before being rescued by Dr. Fredrick Treves. Treves, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, is a multilayered character. Clinical and reserved, he develops a real affection for Merrick and feels shame and guilt at the realization that he is using and exploiting the man for his own ends. Not a “touchy-feely” sort, Treves is nevertheless a man of commendable honor and insight.

#2: Dr. Jack McKee
“The Doctor” (1991)

At the beginning of “The Doctor,” Jack McKee is a jerk – plain and simple. An enormously successful surgeon, he is self-centered and ultimately uncaring towards his family and his patients. But after he himself experiences life as a patient, he undergoes a transformation – and emerges as the uber-doctor of our dreams: kind, compassionate, fiercely devoted and genuinely involved. And not too shabby with a scalpel either.

Before we diagnose our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Dr. Wilbur Larch “The Cider House Rules” (1999)
- Dr. Robert Campbell “Medicine Man” (1992)
- Drs. Beverly & Elliot Mantle “Dead Ringers” (1988)
- Dr. Jaquith “Now, Voyager” (1942)
- Dr. John Dolittle “Doctor Dolittle” (1967)

#1: Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
“M*A*S*H” (1970)

The landmark TV sitcom made Hawkeye Pierce a household name, but the earlier film version of “M*A*S*H” first introduced the character to an appreciative viewing audience. Ribald, uninhibited and cynical on the outside, Pierce on the inside was as caring and skillful a doctor as any person could wish. His laidback, fun-loving persona masked the anxiety and terror he felt working in an army hospital – and made the audience take him to their hearts in a big, big way.

Do you agree with our choices? What other dedicated doctors of the silver screen should we have added to this list? For more clinical top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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